[Update: Essential Phone] Android Q Beta 5 rolls out for all Google Pixel phones, brings updated gesture navigation
Android Q Beta 4 marked the last beta that was given a launch month. We knew Android Q Beta 5 would launch sometime in “Q3,” but that was as specific as Google got. Turns out we didn’t have to wait very long as Google is rolling out the fifth beta today. This is the first of two release candidate builds before the first stable release for the public.
Last month, the finalized developer APIs launched with Beta 4. As you would expect, Android Q Beta 5 includes these final APIs, the official API 29 SDK, and updated build tools for Android Studio. There aren’t as many consumer-facing changes as we enter the release candidate phase. However, there is one pretty big area that has been updated: gestural navigation.
We already knew there would be some changes to gestural navigation in Android Q beta 5. Google has added a swipe gesture from either bottom corner to launch Google Assistant. You’ll see new “handles” that indicate the gesture. The “peek” gesture that we knew about is included as well. This allows users to tap the edge of the display and hold briefly until the navigation drawer “pops” out. Then you can continue dragging it open. A full swipe without pause will perform the “back” gesture. Developers whose apps have a navigation drawer are recommended to switch to DrawerLayout 1.1.0-alpha02 for the best experience.
🚧 The drawer behavior is changing. Users will be able to open the drawer by peeking the drawer, and then swiping. Big benefit is that this works with existing apps with “old” DrawerLayout versions. pic.twitter.com/WVyOzQFzHO
— Chris Banes (@chrisbanes) July 2, 2019
Another change that we knew was coming is gestural navigation limits with 3rd-party launchers. Google confirms that change, but says that starting in Beta 6, using a 3rd-party launcher will automatically revert the system back to 3-button navigation. There may be a post-launch update to address the issues and allow 3rd-party launcher users to switch to gestural navigation. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed yet, “fully gestural navigation” is simply called “gestural navigation” now.
We will start digging into Android Q Beta 5 and tell you all about the other changes Google has made. Find the download links for Google Pixel phones and Project Treble devices below, or visit the Android Beta page to enroll your device. Issues with the Android platform, app compatibility, and third-party SDKs can be filed in their respective hotlists in the Issue Tracker.
Update 1: Essential Phone Too
Essential is a tiny bit late compared to its usual punctuality, but 2 days isn’t that big of a deal, right? In any case, the company has announced that Q beta 5 is now available for the Essential Phone.
#AndroidQ Beta users—Q Beta 5 is now available for Essential Phone!
Please note: Our Beta Program app is temporarily under maintenance and opting in/out is unavailable right now. Those already enrolled will still receive updates. https://t.co/o6f8tGDdlN
— Essential (@essential) July 12, 2019
Opting in/out is currently unavailable for the Developer Program, but if you’re already on an earlier Q beta build for the PH-1, you should be able to update.